One of the most popular specialties besides traditional black coffee is the cappuccino. Whether in the USA or around the world: a cappuccino should not be missing on any menu. But where does the drink actually come from and how can you prepare it yourself at home in just a few steps.
Alongside the latte macchiato, the cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee variants with milk, which impresses with its creaminess. Traditionally, it is infused with fine-pored milk foam for a beautiful and nice flavor. For the perfect cappuccino preparation in your own home, we have compiled helpful tips and details about cappuccino.
The Art of Making Cappuccino
The art of making cappuccino lies in the harmonious balance of the three components of the Italian original: espresso, hot milk or milk substitute, and milk foam. This “recipe” can also be used to make a latte macchiato or a caffè latte. The right mixing ratio is therefore crucial for a cappuccino. One-third of the cappuccino consists of espresso and two-thirds of milk or milk substitutes. Ideally, you can prepare the espresso with a portafilter machine.
The machine also has the advantage of a steam nozzle with which the milk for the cappuccino can be brewed. However, due to the high acquisition costs, such a machine is too expensive for some coffee lovers. Milk frothers are alternatives for every budget like Capresso Automatic Milk Frother.
Was Cappuccino Invented in Italy?
To begin with, we would like to take a brief look at the history of the coffee specialty. Does the cappuccino originally come from Italy? We (not only) answer this question with a clear “No”, because the roots of this coffee variant lie in the neighboring country Austria.
The drink, originally called ” Kapuziner “, was a mocha that was served with whipped cream in Viennese coffee houses. Since the creamy cap in connection with the espresso was reminiscent of the light brown costume of the Capuchin monks, the drink was named after them.
Austrian soldiers then brought the hot drink to Italy during the First World War. Achile Gaggia launched the first espresso machine there in 1948. She used steam not only to brew espresso but also to froth milk. Only with this invention was it possible to make the cappuccino we know today. So the Italians developed the ingenious idea of this less rich capuchin variant. Today it is impossible to imagine any café in the world without it and is one of the most valued coffee specialties.
How to Make Cappuccino at Home?
To prevent the espresso from cooling down after brewing, we recommend that you start by preparing the milk first. This should therefore be “transformed” into foam. It is foamed with the hot water nozzle on the portafilter machine until it becomes creamy. If you do not have a suitable machine, you can alternatively use a manual or electric milk frother like Capresso.
Contrary to other opinions, the fat content of milk plays a big role. Our experience has shown that excellent milk foam can also be prepared with low-fat milk. Technology and tools are undoubtedly the decisive factors for the success of a perfect cappuccino. With the perfect milk foam in the cup, you can also easily prepare a caffè latte or a latte macchiato.
When making cappuccino, the quality of the espresso and the milk foam is generally important. You should also pay attention to the temperatures with which you treat the milk. Your cappuccino will be visually perfect when you can only see a small espresso rim around the milk foam at the end.
- Espresso Machine with Steam Wand
- Cappuccino Cup
- 7-8 g Espresso Powder
- 60 ml Milk
- Preheat your cappuccino cup a little.
- Start by brewing an espresso as usual. A simple espresso with about 25-30 ml is sufficient for the cappuccino.
- Brew the espresso straight into your preheated cup.
- Now froth the milk in the product of your choice. It is particularly important that the milk does not get too hot or even boil. It should reach a maximum of 140 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The end result of the milk froth should be comparatively firm so that the cappuccino tastes particularly delicious after preparation.
- Now slowly pour the milk froth into the espresso.
- At the end, a small espresso rim should still be visible around the milk froth. This step is often neglected by cafés
- You can now enjoy your cappuccino with a layer of milk froth about 1 inches thick.
- The temperature of the milk is decisive in making a cappuccino. So make sure you check them with a simple kitchen thermometer, for example. As soon as it reaches a maximum of 158°F, you can add the milk froth to the espresso.
The quality of the coffee used and the care is taken during the brewing process are decisive for the delicious taste of the finished cappuccino.
Which coffee beans and milk are best for cappuccino?
Some types of cappuccino milk are better than others for the drink. Since we want the milk to float on the espresso for as long as possible, it is advisable to choose an option with high-fat content.
Even if basically any milk can be used, the swimming properties are all the better. In the supermarket, you should find many options to choose from, such as those with 3.5 percent fat.
Traditionally, baristas and coffee lovers use a blend for Italian cappuccino preparation, i.e. a mixture of Arabica and Robusta beans, ideally in a ratio of 60% to 40%. With their pronounced flavor, Robusta coffees not only skillfully balance the rather soft taste of the milk, but also ensure a creamy, stable crema. When buying, you should therefore make sure that the beans are of first-class quality.
You can find a selection of high-quality coffee beans in our overview:
The Optimal Grind for Cappuccino
In the event that you grind the coffee beans for your cappuccino yourself, the best grinding degree must of course be set “correctly”. Otherwise, the coffee will not be extracted properly and it could become too sour or too bitter. Because of the very short contact time of the hot water with the coffee grounds in an espresso machine, a fine grind is required for a nice crema espresso.
You should always try a little until you have found the perfect grind for your machine and the selected beans. For orientation: If the coffee tastes too sour, you should set the grinding degree a little finer. If, on the other hand, it is too bitter, a slightly coarser grind can help.
Latte Art - The Fine Art Of Making Cappuccino
If you are still in the early stages of your (hobby) barista “career”, you have surely already noticed that the preparation of a perfect milk foam requires a lot of practice. However, the requirements become downright artistic when it comes to the lovingly designed “pictures” in the crema. The prerequisite for their success is perfectly frothed milk and a professionally prepared espresso.
As simple as it may look, even supposedly simple figures, such as the heart, present a real challenge. In general, the equipment of an artist who masters latte art consists of an espresso machine or an espresso maker, a milk frother, and a mug to froth the milk. With a volume between 0.6 and 1 liter, this is the ideal size, because the following applies: the larger the milk frother mug, the easier it is to make the foam.
The result ranges – provided you practice more times – from amazingly detailed drawings such as floral and geometric patterns to animal motifs to lifelike portraits that can be conjured up onto the cappuccino with fine spoons and pens. With this required skill, it’s no wonder that baristas around the world regularly choose the best latte art designers in national and international championships.
Differences Between Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, And Regular Coffee with Milk?
The differences between the coffee specialties cappuccino, latte macchiato, and regular coffee with milk coffee are partly clear. Regular coffee with milk in its traditional preparation differs most clearly from the other drinks, as filter coffee is already used instead of espresso.
In the cappuccino, the mixing ratio between espresso and milk foam is 1:2, while the latte macchiato relies entirely on the taste of the milk. No wonder that it is also served to children in southern European countries because the caffeine content is quite low.
Regular coffee with milk is the easiest to prepare, as it does not require any special equipment such as a milk frother or espresso machine.
25-30 ml Espresso, 50-60 ml Milk Foam
First Add Espresso, Then Milk Foam
Austria & Italy
25-30 ml Espresso, 180-230 ml Milk
First Add Milk, Then Milk Foam And Finally Espresso
Regular Coffee with Milk
50% Filter Coffee, 50% Milk
First Add Coffee, Then Milk
Unclear, Southern Europe
In Italy, hot milk is generally considered filling. Therefore, the cappuccino is a typical drink for an Italian breakfast, which is far more meager during the week than at the weekend. It consists of a cappuccino with a few biscuits or some rusks – a relatively hard breakfast pastry that is dipped into the drink.
In any case, unlike espresso, cappuccino is more likely to be enjoyed in peace at the table as part of a “chat” than while standing at the bar. Outside Italy, for example in this country, cappuccino has also established itself as a delicious change for in between, comparable to latte macchiato or caffè latte.
Anyone can prepare a delicious cappuccino with a little practice. The frothed milk is particularly important, as it must not become too warm before it is added to the espresso. As soon as this espresso has a good taste, you can be sure that your first “homemade” cappuccino will be particularly tasty too.
Along with other classics such as espresso or latte macchiato, cappuccino is one of the world’s most popular coffee specialties. You can enjoy the delicious combination of aromatic espresso and creamy milk foam for breakfast as well as with a piece of cake in the afternoon or as a kind of “appetizer” during a conversation. You can get creative when preparing latte art. So have fun trying it out!